Chugging away through the streets of San Jose, I looked down at my feet at mile 5. Just that fleeting glance was enough to inform me that my half-marathon race had just turned into a remarkably well-organized and pre-routed training run, with support included. Though it was race day, at the Rock 'N Roll San Jose Half Marathon no less, I lacked one small piece of plastic that would make me into an actual racer: my D-tag.
But you know, after I had a good laugh over that, I realized that really it was par for the course. Yesterday was a great day to learn a large number of lessons, among them:
- It's a little hard for the race to give you a time without that shoe tag. To the mental checklist: shoes, singlet, shorts, sunglasses, add: d-tag, number. Two short steps for race prep, one long step for official finishes.
- Might not be the best idea in the world to run a half-marathon after a tough training week. Next time you do a half, remove at least one of the following from your prerace routine: Presidio Hills cross-country race; ten-mile "recovery" run with a speedy friend; killer Impala track workout, with sprints o' plenty, just two days later. (DUMMY!)
- Yeah, and next time you might not want to attend a benefit in Marin the night before a race in San Jose. Just maybe.
- Here's a good one: when your legs feel like cement blocks would feel if they could actually hurt intensely (from mile 1, to boot), don't forget that cement blocks can still move. If you yell at them enough, they'll even move at a decent rate of speed. Just don't let the legs win. And no, you're not allowed to quit in the middle of a race, even if you won't get an official time. Nice try though.
The weather was spectacular--practically custom-ordered to be clear, sunny, not too hot. And especially considering how many thousands of people ran the half, the organization was terrific. Though I was in pain and struggling from mile 1, I still managed to pick up the pace in the last 5K just by force of will. And though I didn't get an official time, I know my Garmin time, and it would have been a PR at 1:36:xx (I'll get it next time!). This newbie feels tremendously lucky to be healthy and able to run 13.1 in 96 minutes.
And as a final note, you gotta love my race number--F16. I enjoyed being a fighter jet for the day.